Ngram’ing Information

The first two terms I looked up Google Ngram Viewer were “literature” and “film”. I thought this would provide interesting results, due to the ever present debate on films verses literature, and I was right.


Both terms are getting increasingly popular, and what I find most interesting is that even though “literature” (thankfully) came out on top, “film” is almost at the same number, and it got there in a very short time-spam. In this digital age, it is good to know  that literature is still more popular, at least according to Ngram. While literature has been around a lot longer than film has, it is interesting to see how it still has a positive, increasing slope. Even though according to the graph, there were “dips” in popularity, literature still has sustained increase. Whereas film has gone nowhere but up, but of course that is to be expected. Ever since mainstream films, or movies, popularity has only gone up. Everyone has a favorite movie, not everyone has a favorite book. I suspect that in the next few years, film will surpass literature on this graph, maybe it already has, as Google Ngram data isn’t currently up to date.


For my second comparison, I used the old saying “The pen is mightier than the sword”. In this case, the pen IS mightier than the sword, but the sword was mightier than the pen for a really long time. This graph kept surprising me. The first time was when I realized how popular both sayings were at first, then to see the shrinking popularity of the terms over time. Then of course at the end I was shocked to see that pen did indeed win in the end. Swords were the weapon of choice before guns were widely used, so of course in the writings of that time, people used swords. Also a big part of early literature was the detective novel, where a pen might be used. Often in a book or work of writing, someone would be writing, for it is a common thing, so that’s where the word pen might be used. Nowadays, the fantasy and science fiction novels that are on the market are moving away from the past, and into the future. In those scenarios the characters wouldn’t use swords, but a gun of some sort, leading to the falling popularity. In other types of novels, modern day technology is seeping into books, so where a character would usually write something down with a pen, they might type it, leading to the falling popularity of that word as well.


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